To the surprise of nearly everyone, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded its 2009 Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama. Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said that “a number of key factors went into our decision.”
“First, President Obama is more for peace than any other person on the planet,” Jagland asserted. “Such earnest enthusiasm for an ideal merits special recognition.” Jagland observed that a similar standard led the Committee to award the Peace Prize to former US Vice-President Al Gore in 2007. “If we are giving Mr. Gore the Prize for his earnest enthusiasm on behalf of global warming, failure to do something similar for Mr. Obama might be construed as latent racism,” Jagland argued.
“Second, we felt that the award could serve as a sort of consolation prize for the snubbing of Mr. Obama by the International Olympic Committee when they rejected his entreaties to grant the 2016 Olympic games to Chicago,” Jagland continued. “While we recognize that the financial gain Mr. Obama could have reaped from the Olympic award to his hometown dwarf those of our Prize, we felt it might ease his pain.”
“Finally, the barrage of criticism from the right-wing media in America—most notably the recent lampooning of Mr. Obama by the Saturday Night Live television program—is undermining his progressive agenda,” Jagland concluded. “It is our hope that our award will offset, if not silence, this criticism.”
Presidential advisor David Axelrod characterized the award as “game changing.” “Enemies of the President have made a big show of popular opposition with these so-called ‘tea parties,’” Axelrod said. “Now that the President’s genius has been internationally proclaimed it will be harder for them to gain traction.”
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